One thing I definitely value about getting older is my ability to acknowledge and experience negative emotions, feelings and fears without shame, judgment or complete hopelessness. After all, ruts and emotional funks happen. But at forty-four years old I can finally sit in my pain and feel miserable, all the while knowing that it's temporary. Unhappiness and uncertainty don't last forever, unless I let them. And I'm fully aware of the fact that I may not look back at a particular situation and laugh (like walking away from my relationship with Mr. Weird Science), but I'll definitely look back with a deeper understanding of who I am, the choices I made and how they contributed to my current reality (even my current loneliness). And I also know that when I confide my thoughts and feelings in a compassionate friend, or express my emotions through writing or dance, my heart somehow heals. Sometimes even before my circumstances change.
I've finally realized that letting myself experience sadness, anger, fear, self-doubt and disappointment is part of my personal evolution; the way I learn to trust my intuition and walk in my integrity. The way I figure out what I truly want and need in life and love and how to manifest them through my thoughts, my choices, and by constantly nurturing my self-worth. And I know deep down inside that, as much as I genuinely loathe each painful experience, I can simultaneously transform them into catalysts for positive change and open my heart up to new possibilities. And usually the struggle is worth it in the end. Yep, even the periods of heaviness and utter immobility; when all motivation is gone and I find every excuse to overindulge in sleep, wine or other guilty pleasures. It's during these times that I discover my mettle.
And that's BIG realization for me. Ask my therapist! I used to be the queen of detachment; avoiding emotional pain by any means necessary. And I was damn good at it too; navigating through life feeling pretty much unscathed. Invincible! But the nature of my divorce triggered such deep feelings of rejection and betrayal that my chronically happy self got sucker punched from every possible direction and my protective mechanisms failed me. I had no choice but to surrender to the humbling pain and call out for mercy. But the pain didn't stop. For some crazy reason, rejection and betrayal became recurring themes in other areas of my life, too, making me realize that I was clearly supposed to be learning some major life lessons. Perhaps something profound about myself...? Like, perhaps my value, without the easy validation that comes from human or material attachments or from noteworthy achievements that garner bragging rights. Or what really makes me happy and gives me a sense of fulfillment. Or how to attract and welcome what I want and need in my life, knowing that I'm worthy. And how not to sabotage my own happiness.
So while I'm grateful to no longer function as a novice when it comes to emotional pain, I am so ready to trade in feelings of betrayal, rejection and loneliness... for feelings of love.